I believe there is an intrinsic value in depicting subject matters using a proven craft-based painting tradition. I mainly utilize Baroque chiaroscuro techniques, a traditional oil painting method in multiple translucent layers. To work in a representational artform is exiting. It differs from photography, in that it can enhance selected parts, light and focus, precisely where needed. The world can be reconstructed in the way it is experienced, rather than simply recorded in the way it appears. It can, in that sense, become more “real” than reality itself.
In this pursuit of the sublime, as it were, art materials can play a significant role. Variations in properties of various pigments can project colors, with seemingly, an inner light. A glowing effect that reflect through thin glazes, creating a vivid sense of depth. Consequently, the choice of medium becomes pivotal, since the optical brilliance relies heavily on the properties of the oil. Factory refined linseed oil, used in contemporary tube paints and painting mediums, lack many of the qualities we see in works painted in pre-industrial times.
It is hard to find written accounts of methods used by Masters of old. They guarded their professional secrets carefully and rarely put anything on paper. However, though experimentation, diligent research, and selected source materials, I have managed to recreate historical artists’ materials, mostly through manual production methods. Beside the superior permanency — a visit to any reputable art museum will make that apparent — this also facilitates working in an environmentally sound way, without the necessity for nocuous solvents. This, provided that one avoid the more toxic pigments painters of the past often depended on.